Bill by U.S. Rep. Susan Wild would streamline student loans | Friday Morning Coffee

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District (Facebook photo)

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Americans currently owe an eye-watering $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, with the U.S. Dept. of Education holding the biggest share of the notes on this borrowing. Now, a Democratic lawmaker from the Lehigh Valley wants to make it easier for you to repay that money.

Legislation being sponsored by U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District, wants to scrap the multitude of existing repayment plans for one fixed repayment plan and another one that’s income-based.

If it’s ever signed into law, it would hand a break to roughly 44 million Americans who are still having trouble remembering what they did freshman year after that night with the beer bong, trapeze and tiki torches.

Or that just might be us … anywhoo …

Wild’s legislation, along with another measure that would expand access to higher education for disabled Americans by expanding federal funding for programs that help these students succeed, are included in the larger College Affordability Act, a higher education overhaul proposal that House Democrats rolled out on Tuesday, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

Image via Flickr Commons

Citing a news release from the House Education & Labor Committee, “the plan would tackle rising tuition costs by restoring state and federal spending on public colleges and universities in an effort to shift the financial burden away from students and their families,” the Chronicle reported. “The bill also aims to expand higher-education access to low- and middle-income students by increasing the value of Pell Grants and making them available for short-term academic programs.”

But this being Washington, the Chron’ sagely notes that the bill will likely go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. The Trump administration also has its own proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The White House rolled that out in March, the Chron’ reports.

Still, Wild was optimistic about the House proposal.

“The runaway cost of college has left low-income and middle-class families behind, and it is past time we reinvest in higher education in this country,” Wild said in a statement released by her office. “To keep our economy growing from the middle out we have to invest in every aspect of higher education for students from every background.”

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Our Stuff.

Elizabeth Hardison sweeps in for the scoop, detailing how Lebanon County’s Republican party boss apparently poisoned the process for picking a replacement for ex-Sen. Mike Folmer. Republicans and Democrats in the 48th District, which includes Lebanon and parts of Dauphin and York counties, vote in a special election on Jan. 14.

The state crimes code is packed with redundant, harmful charges, the ACLU-PA says in new report. The very busy Hardison has what you need to know,

The Democratic members of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation paid tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who died at age 68 on Thursday, after fighting health issues.

It will not surprise you to learn that Pennsylvania’s two United States Senators split on a measure overturning a Trump administration power plant rule. Our Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender has the details.

A Philadelphia jury has found a Black bicycle courier not guilty of manslaughter in a stabbing on Rittenhouse Square in the city last year, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report, in the first of two stories. And the Philly FOP  has lost a labor fight over the department’s tattoo policy, the Trib’ also reports.

It’s a busy day on our Commentary Page, too. The damage wrought by the tyrant-in-chief will take decades to undo, a newsletter author of your acquaintance offers. An electric car tax won’t solve Pa’s transportation woes, but it could increase pollution, an expert from Consumer Reports opines.

Elsewhere.
Philadelphia City Councilman Allan Domb has called for an investigation of the city’s payroll software ‘boondoggle,’ the Inquirer reports.
Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala is deferring to Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office over a ballot question fight, the Post-Gazette reports.
The Pa. Higher Education Assistance Agency has awarded $56,250 bonuses to two employees, PennLive reports.
The Lehigh County Jail picked up $10k a month as an immigrant detention center, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Dealing reformers a defeat, the Philly school board has rejected a pair of charter school renewals, WHYY-FM reports.
An Allegheny County man is suing, claiming he was denied a job because of his medical marijuana use, WESA-FM reports.
U.S. House Dems are building a ‘financial fortress’ around their majority, Politico reports.

What Goes On.
5 p.m, Capitol Steps:
 Weekly Climate Strike rally.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny
, holds a 7 p.m. reception at Futules’ Harmar House Banquet Hall, which feels like the most Tony DeLuca place ever to hold a fundraiser. Admission is a flat $150 each.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a slow burner from Sigma to get the first day of the weekend going. It’s ‘Higher,’ featuring Labrinth.

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
The New Jersey Devils 
picked up their first win of the season on Thursday, skating past the Rangers 5-2.

And now you’re up to date. 

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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